Developer Interplay filed a strongly-worded response to the latest claims made by Fallout IP owner Bethesda in an ongoing lawsuit involving Interplay's development of Fallout Online.
Last month, Bethesda claimed it licensed "one single asset" [emphasis Bethesda's] to Interplay, which was the "Fallout" trademark in connection with an MMO.
Bethesda contends that there is "no other license" included in the deal, and that any Fallout-branded MMO made by Interplay cannot feature any assets from the established Fallout universe, such as characters, settings or storylines.
A January 7 Interplay court filing -- obtained by Gamasutra -- argued against Bethesda's interpretation of the licensing and purchase agreements between the two companies.
"Bethesda's interpretation requires Interplay to develop and release an MMOG under the Fallout name, but unrelated to the Fallout brand," read Interplay's response to Bethesda's recent claims.
"First, this is not only absurd, but is specifically prohibited [emphasis Interplay's] by the agreement because Interplay was only granted a 'license and right to use the Licensed Marks on and in connection with its FALLOUT-branded MMOG ... and for no other purpose," the filing added.
"It was not the parties' intent that Interplay create, for example, an online baseball game or poker game called 'Fallout.'"
Interplay said that by divorcing the Fallout brand from its setting, characters and other recognizable assets, the studio would be "denied the fundamental benefit of using the trademark."
Interplay said Betheda's latest claims are "without merit," and asked the court for the opportunity to "present evidence to show the parties' intent with regard to the meaning of the term 'Fallout-branded MMOG,'" a term not clearly defined in the licensing agreement, Interplay alleged.
Interplay sold the Fallout series to Bethesda in 2007 for $5.75 million, and then Bethesda licensed rights to develop a Fallout MMO back to Interplay under certain conditions.